FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 26, 2020
Nova Scotia’s rent increase cap, stalling evictions, and a new housing commission to seek longer-term affordable housing solutions are welcome, but we also need solutions upstream
KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX, NS)- Rent control provides temporary relief to the housing crisis and is in line with what advocates have been calling for. The ban on evictions also shows that the Liberal government is recognizing the homelessness crisis and the need for compassion.
We’re pleased that action has been taken to study the issue and propose solutions through the new Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission, but saddened by the lack of representation of those most affected and their community-based advocates.
As Amy Moonshadow, a member of our Coordinating Committee and first voice advocate says, “Although the eviction ban is a good stop-gap measure, it does not deal with the fact that there is still a lack of affordable housing for folks to be safe and well, and they will still likely face eviction at some point, like in the winter, when the ban ends.”
We hope the Commission will move forward quickly on its task of recommending how to increase the stock of affordable housing, but what is needed most is for the government to redress their market-driven strategy for housing. This is an issue of concern in both urban and rural areas of the province. As the Chair of our Affordable Housing Working Group and the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society, Colleen Cameron states: “There is a perception that there is no housing crisis in the rural areas since most people who are homeless are visible in the areas where shelters are located. Homelessness is just the tip of the iceberg, the lack of affordable housing throughout the whole province is the iceberg that will kill us.”
The negative impacts of COVID-19 and the housing and financial crises in Nova Scotia are also made worse by income inequality and the long-term underfunding of public services that have reduced our collective capacity to respond to these crises and to public health emergencies.
Today the Nova Scotia Action Coalition for Community Wellbeing (NSACCW) is calling on the federal, provincial, and indeed municipal governments to work with non-profit housing organizations and community groups to support, fund, and build the kind of housing we need–more non-profit and social housing.
Governments also need to look upstream to consider the major factors that are contributing to the lack of housing affordability, such as high levels of poverty, low wages, and inadequate federal and provincial income and social security programs.
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Alec Stratford at 902-410-2420 or at Alec.Stratford@NSCSW.org.
NSACCW is a coalition of community members dedicated to working strategically and collaboratively towards community wellbeing and a better quality of life for everyone. We exist to connect a community of action-oriented organizations and people who are committed to social inclusion and building a Nova Scotia where no one lives in poverty.